cover image THE SEA OF TEARS


Nani Power, . . Counterpoint, $25 (237pp) ISBN 978-1-58243-303-5

Love is in the air at the Royale, a Washington, D.C., hotel inhabited by a motley collection of emotionally wounded and desperately lonely folk in this third novel by Powers (The Good Remains ; Crawling at Night ). Maintenance man Jedra Abdullah secretly pines for pretty, troubled front desk clerk, Phyllis, who speaks the ancient tongues, sees angels and has memories of heaven. A Persian engineer, Khouri Karimi, attends a conference at the hotel and meets Patricia, a single mother working as a maid. And in the penthouse apartment, Daniel Espiritu dreams of Brazil and composes a cookbook, My Life in Recipes , in a desperate attempt to evoke his lush homeland and his doomed affair with the family maid. This fantasy sustains Daniel until Leslie, the hotel chef, knocks at his door. In her lushly lyrical voice, Power fashions a world filled with orphans who cling to ritualistic traditions and the romance of their pasts. The story lines echo each other too often, and Power's characters cleave to type—the women are mostly blonde and voluptuous, and the men dark, lean and foreign—but Power weaves a fine yarn of the lost and lonely seeking intimacy and love. Agent, Wendy Sherman. (Jan.)

Forecast: Booksellers can recommend this food- and recipe-packed novel to fans of Joanne Harris, Laura Esquivel and other writers of culinary erotica. Author tour.